Monday, 29 October 2012

Bathing Beauties Festival – Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Sandiland

Despite the many years I have been visiting Mablethorpe, I can quite honestly say I had never heard of the Bathing Beauties Festival which seems quite a shame really considering the atmosphere that I experienced at this recent event

Going back a few months, I saw a Shout Out via The DesignFactory website for a commission inspired by the Lincolnshire coast.  Always one for a challenge I decided to put in a proposal. They were looking for 10 artists to rise to the challenge.  When I was emailed with the news that I had been selected, I was delighted.

Nita Nithwani
As the piece progressed I posted a few hints about my commission on their Facebook page Curiousities on the Edge.  Once all the pieces were in, the artists were asked to make an appearance at the Festival, I decided to provide a little Make and Take which would suit adult and child alike.  Another Design Factory member Nita Nithwani also provided a workshop, she had the children either making a button out of clay or getting them to paint one already made.  She is such a lovely lady and I have to thank her for the majority of photographs which she shared with me are in this post.

On the Saturday morning it was quite overcast but that wasn't to last.  I spent the morning with my son exploring the delights of Mablethorpe.  It is one of my favourite coastal destinations it epitomizes the traditional delights of the british seaside;  lovely expanse of clean beach, an area for catching crabs and such like, donkey's, a mini fun fair, slot machine and trinket shops.  However as it was the Bathing Beauty weekend, things looked slightly different.  All the beachhuts were a hive of activity, each one had a stall outside either a carboot or a jumble table.

Outside the main area of the town on the esplanade were a selection of professional stands which included many continental businesses selling their wares.  I bought some nougat from France, admired the bratwurst from Germany and finally bought some coconut macaroons from Devon.  Other interesting features I came across were these sand people.

Some of the commissions on diesplay
As the afternoon approached the sun showed it's face and I drove down to Sandilands to do my agreed workshop. All the artists work was displayed in one of the beach huts and resembled a mini gallery space.  It intrigued me how the the response by the artists was all very different, not just because of the materials they had used but the interpretation of the brief which was to produce an object in response to the Lincolnshire coast.  A sign outside the beach hut directed you in.

Action Man is in the buildin
There was a flurry of bunting which was made up of photographs taken of beach huts and their owners.  One particular card caught my attention, it was of an action man on a deck chair, my sort of humour I thought.  After talking to the photographer, she explained that her project had been not only photographing the owners but also interviewing them.  The story behind the postcard was that action man always came with them and was always displayed outside as a way of showing people that they were in residence.

During the afternoon, I showed a number of children how to create an origami windmill which they then turned into a fun badge, I pointed people in the direction of the exhibition and shared a box of samples for them to explore.

As I watched the afternoon come to a close I was yet again to be entertained by the clip-clop of a band of donkeys as the plodded by.  What a hoot!

If you would like to see my commission and those of the other artists, please visit my Face Book page Rare Notions by Phiona Richards

Monday, 22 October 2012

An interview with Tracie Murchison

Tracie is the last of the designer/makers that I will be sharing a stand with.  Here's what she had to say.....

Can you describe your journey to becoming a professional maker?

I returned to education when my youngest child went to school. I began with a part time access course in Art and then a BA (Hons) in Applied Art at Middlesex University.

What comes first materials or design?

My materials come first, I use similar materials in all my work, mainly: wood, fabric and paper but how I use the materials and the process of layering them can be very broad depending on the inspiration for a particular collection of work.

What are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?

When my great Aunt Alice died she left me a treasure trove of love letters, ephemera and fabrics. These treasures along with her tea sets and jugs inspired my Alice Annie collection of teacups and pitchers.

One of my recent collections, ‘Memory lane’, a series of little houses with imagery and text are inspired by peeling layers of paint often found on doors and walls of old houses. Memory lane collection evokes memories of people and places within the 4 walls of ‘home’. The home being… “the silent receptacle of memory” as written by Roma Tearne in Bone China.

What tips do you have to get around creative block?

A trip to the British museum or the V&A will always give me some creative fuel, looking at and sketching ceramics, textiles and jewellery for form, stance, colour and textures never fails to give me plenty of fresh ideas. I often find that by stepping away from something I am working on gives me a different perspective after a day of museum or gallery visits.

What keeps you motivated?

I am very self motivated, I just enjoy making and creating. 

Tell us about your workspace.

I am lucky enough to have a small workshop, it opens onto the garden so if it is a nice day I can take my tools outside….such a pleasure for me but maybe not for the neighbours!

I also have a room in my house which is filled from floor to ceiling with everything that will one day become an artwork! Fabrics, laces, ephemera, 1950’s magazines, beach glass, wood, sewing machine, buttons etc.etc.etc!

This is where I work but sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on one project as there is so many other things around me waiting for their turn.

What would you say are your values and ethics when it comes to making?

When I am beginning a new idea the honesty of it is very important. I value my narrative of each collection. 

From all of your pieces which is your favourite and why?

My favourite piece is always my newest piece! I love the satisfaction of bringing a new idea to fruition. This piece was inspired by a trip to the British Museum, looking at Egyptian amphoras.

Have you got any shows or events coming up?

I will be showing a range of work at MADE London 26th to 28th October 2012 then Made by Hand at Tredegar House from 30th November to the 2nd December 2012. And I have been selected to be part of the Contemporary Craft Open 1-25th Nov 2012 at Unit twelve, Stafford

Do you have a website?

Yes, my website is http//

Thank you Tracie for sharing an insight into being a Designer and Maker, I'm looking forward to sharing a stand at MADE London at Marylebone One between 26th and 28th October 2012